Your computer network crashed; you've just lost everything.
Six seconds later, all the data is intact-if your recovery service provider is Datto Inc., recently recognized as the No. 1 Fastest Growing Backup and Security Business in the U.S. by Inc. 500.
At the helm of Datto's profitable success-with an $8.7 million revenue that promises to triple by the end of the year-is 27-year-old founder and CEO Austin McChord, who graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in bioinformatics in 2009.
McChord will explain his "Just do it" philosophy at 11:15 a.m. Friday, Oct. 19, as the keynote speaker at the ninth annual RIT Entrepreneurs Conference by "Inspiring a New Wave of Entrepreneurship." The event, which is hosted by RIT's E. Philip Saunders College of Business, runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in RIT's Louise Slaughter Hall, Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies. General parking is available in lots J, T or H.
"I thought about Datto as a project when I started it five years ago, sort of 'Hey, can I actually do this,'" says McChord from Datto corporate headquarters in Norwalk, Conn. "I left RIT in 2007 and worked out of the basement of my parent's home in Newtown, Conn., and ended up finishing my degree online.
"Essentially what we do is deliver a business continuity service," McChord explains. "So if an e-mail or file server goes down, our system can virtualize it and make copies in about six seconds, either locally or in Datto's cloud. We protect big companies from having to experience downtime, no mater what happens."
Richard DeMartino, director of RIT's Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, says the RIT community has tremendous interest in cloud computing resources and the benefits of virtualization.
"Austin is an RIT success story; he started his business concept here, and five years down the road his company has grown exponentially since its launch in 2007. He is an entrepreneurial role model for the 4,000 or 5,000 students on campus who are interested in developing cloud-based applications or using software as a service."
Datto, which got its name from combining "data with ditto," recently won the fifth consecutive "Best Cloud Solution" at ASCII Chicago Success Summit and was ranked the No. 1 fastest growing company in Connecticut and No. 38 overall on the 2012 Inc. 500 list with three-years sales growth of 5,554 percent. The company has 130 employees and offers a robust internship program for students.
"All of our co-ops come from RIT and we even rented a house near our office so we could provide housing for them," McChord says. "My advice to future entrepreneurs is to jump in with both feet and know that you are going to face both success and failure, but you just got to keep at it. Sometimes it seems insurmountable because you have to think of everything-from the user's manual, to the box, to where you get the plastic bag to put the accessory table in.
"Advisers told me it wouldn't work but I went ahead and 'did it.' Every continent except Antarctica is using our servers right now and we have more than 10,000 physical hardware appliances in the field protecting over 35,000 machines."
The RIT Entrepreneurship Conference sessions include: Social Media, Commercializing Technology, Digital Entrepreneurship, Finding Your First Customer and Funding Your Venture. The event also features a student Shark Tank Contest, where a panel of judges select the best student concepts, and a 1 p.m. Golisano Dean's Speaker Series with Dr. Luis von Ahn, one of the developers of CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart), an anti-spamming technology.
The conference is open to the public and the cost, including a boxed lunch, is $25. The event is free for RIT alumni, students, faculty and staff-with a box lunch fee of $10. Spaces are limited; online registration is available at www.rit.edu/cob/entconf/2012/ or call Dana Pierce at 585-475-2199.
Note: One of nine colleges at RIT, the E. Philip Saunders College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB International) and enrolls more than 1,200 undergraduate and graduate students. The Saunders College and its entrepreneurial Venture Creations Incubator work in partnership with RIT's Albert J. Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to integrate business education with RIT's world leading technical and creative programs.